A Travellerspoint blog

From Trier onwards

The last few weeks of my trip

overcast 22 °C

From Anika's place in Wittlich near Trier we packed up her Volkswagen bus/campervvan and headed across Germany. We travelled through the Black Forest and stopped at a beautiful lake. Then we spent the night in Baden Baden, a very pretty town. We parked up on a hill near the forest.



The next day we drove to Munich. With some careful parking we were able to maneuver the van so that we could open the roof, this became our 'urban camping' camp site for the next few days. Cheapest accommodation in all of Munich during Oktoberfest at 1.50 Euro per night!



We dressed up Bavarian style in our 'dirndl' and headed to Oktoberfest for beer drinking, Bavarian food, songs and general fun.



Klagenfurt to Florence

I trained to Klagenfurt in Austria, met my friend Silvia and then we drove to Italy. So cool!
Road trip!

Road trip!

We stayed in Florence in a hostel that looked more like a hotel (only downside - I got bitten by bedbugs). Italy was beautiful!
Jemma hugs the leaning tower of Pisa

Jemma hugs the leaning tower of Pisa

We did a tour to Pisa, San Gimingano and Siena - incredible!


After Italy I trained from Klagenfurt to Zurich. A lot of the landscape reminded me of home.
I stayed in Lenzberg with a couple called Jeanne and Andy that I had met tramping in the Tararua's a year before in NZ. They lived near some castles, here is one...


I made pavalova for dessert for a dinner party they hosted and everyone loved it :)


I flew to Frankfurt. Only had 5 hours between flights, so what did I do? Headed straight to the jazz club! Saw a really great big band.



Hot! Very safe city. Coulourful, I was staying in Chinatown.


Highlight would be the night safari attached to the zoo. So amazing! I saw so many cool animals!


Getting excited about coming home, missing all my friends and family.


Staying with my friend Guy, nice to see a friend!


Then Sheldon and Jess came from Sydney for the weekend, felt like home having them with me :)

So almost the end... coming home on Wednesday. Yay! Hope you have all enjoyed following me around the world. For those of you not on facebook who want to see all my photos, send me an email or something and we can sort something out!

Posted by jemma.irvine 23:58 Archived in Australia Comments (0)


Je t'aime

sunny -38 °C

I have dreamed of going to Paris for as long as I can remember. Since I was a little girl watching the Aristocats Paris has always held a special place in my heart. (In fact I was scared that due to my romanticized views of the place I would be extremely disappointed when I actually got there and found it was not everything I imagined- a occurrence apparently named "Paris syndome" common is Japan I have been told).

From the time I arrived in Paris I felt as though I was in a dream. The streets were just as I had imagined and seen in movies. They felt so familiar and yet like nothing I had experienced before.

Everywhere I went I met lovely people. Starting with Max, the American ukulele player who was on my flight (we played uke together in the airport) who helped me navigate the subway and find my hostel. I met some lovely travellers at the backpackers including Tim from Germany. I spent my first day in Paris with him. We made sandwiches and had a picnic near Sacre Coeur. Then we travelled to Versailles and spent 5 hours marvelling at the palace. I had my mouth open in awe for most of the tour. It's crazy to think that people really lived there in all that luxury! The details of the paintings and decor was incredible! So much thought and planning - every piece of art told a story. The only down side was the temperature - 38 degrees! I had never been so hot in my life! We wanted to explore the gardens, but there was very little shade and the sun was too hot.

Posted by jemma.irvine 04:34 Archived in France Comments (0)

Germany - again

From Copenhagen to Wittlich

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Copenhagen continued

On the weekend I moved to stay with my friend Benjamin at his friend's flat. I went to his 'hipster' church. There was a carpark out the front, not for cars, just for bikes! Copenhagen style. I was given a coffee and a biscuit as I walked in - definitely a good way to win over your visitors! Then I was given a set of head phones to wear. The service was in Danish but translated into English through the headphones so that international visitors could understand. After church we all went to the pub and had a beer.



Benjamin took me out to a traditional Danish lunch of Smørrebrød - rye bread with amazing toppings. We had the classics including herrings and potato. I felt so Danish!


From Copenhagen I caught a train to Hamburg. I loved seeing all the countryside out of the train window. The woman sitting next to me was listening to some music on her ipod, so loud that we could all hear it. She was dancing and singing along the whole time. The train boarded a ferry and we all got out of the train and went onto the boat. There was a really cute black laborador that I played with. It was pretty cold on the deck though. When we got back into the train I moved seats, for a more peaceful journey. FATAL ERROR! Because I had put my ukulele above my seat before we got on the ferry. I only realised just as the train left Hamburg that my ukulele was still on it :( I have emailed and called the railway with no results. It would seem that the ukulele has decided to have it's own adventure in Germany.

Marie met me at the train station, it was so nice to see her after a year since she left NZ! We went to her house where her friends were having a tea party, complete with china and cakes! So cute!

Going to the doctor in Hamburg

Going to the doctor in Hamburg

The next day I went to the doctor in Hamburg because I was still sick. Marie came and translated. The receptionist asked her if New Zealand was still part of Europe!!! We couldn't believe it! The doctor spoke good English and was very interested in my trip. I liked her a lot.

Hamburg highlights - shopping with Marie and her mum, ferry trip around the GIANT harbour! Reeper Bahn Festival - the Temper Trap were playing but I only found out an hour or two before they were on. We rushed in but the line was huge and we needed to get tickets. We wouldn't have been able to get in. But we watched from the door for free! There were also some other bands playing on outdoor stages that were free to see too and really good. We saw a Dutch ska band playing in a bus, I tried to climb in but it was SO packed!


Trained to Wuppertal to meet Kati. Went on the famous upside-down railway, ate a swirley sausage in a bun and drank lots of tea!

Swirley Sausage in a bun

Swirley Sausage in a bun

Had the most relaxing time and delicious food!

Wittlich and Trier

Last of my epic train journey (interrail pass has expired) took me to Wittlich through the Western Countryside, rivers and cute towns!
Anika and I went to Trier to see the Porta Nigra, the 'Black Gate' built by the Romans in 160-200 AD.

Porta Nigra

Porta Nigra

I had read in my guide book that there were Roman baths and spas. I asked if we could go and told Anika she should get her togs. She had no idea what I was talking about. When I explained that I wanted to go swimming in the baths she couldn't stop laughing. Apparently they are just the Roman ruins, no water involved!

Posted by jemma.irvine 04:15 Archived in Germany Tagged church germany denmark copenhagen Comments (0)

Ok it's official I suck at blogging

Update on where in the world I have been

overcast 14 °C

I have been having too much fun on this world-wind world trip to spend much time writing about it. When you see how many places I have been you might understand why. So this is a very brief overview, at least you will then have some idea of what I have been up to.

So from New York I flew to Paris and spent 6 days there. Then I flew to London and spent 6 days there. Then I flew to Berlin and spent another 6 days.
From Berlin I flew via Copenhagen to Oulu (northern Finland) where I spent 5 days. Then I bought the interail global train pass (can travel on any train for 15 days within 23 countries, also gets me discount on ferries and busses). I caught an overnight train to Helsinki, spent one night there in a hostel. Caught an overnight ferry to Stockholm, spent the day there then trained to Copenhagen with a little stop in Malmo (in Sweden).

Thoughts on each place:


Everything I had imagined and more. I love Paris! I booked into a hostel at when I arrived. Then I went to a couchsurfing party on the metro (the underground trains, like a subway) - that's right the party was on a train! It was crazy! Hundreds of people and every stop we jumped out and changed carriages.
At this party I met some Parisian's and ended up staying with them for a couple of days. It was amazing to be shown the city by locals and I had an amazing time with them riding bikes around Paris, eating delicious French food and much more that if I write about I will never finish this blog!
Then I stayed with another couchsurfing host and that was also a great experience.


I thought London would be an easy place because English is my first language. But I found it difficult to meet and make friends with Londoner's. I was staying with some friends from New Zealand who live there, but they lived quite far from the city centre. So I moved to a hostel in order to meet more people and be closer to the action. The hostel was awful and I was miserable. I ended up moving to stay with another Kiwi couple, some other friends from NZ. They were lovely too and I had a good time exploring London with Charlotte.

Some good things about London;

  • the food market on South Bank - met some cool people and helped out at a coffee stall - best coffee I had had since I left NZ!
  • city bikes - you could use the bikes for only 1 pound! It was so much better when I didn't have to walk as much and I really enjoyed biking around the city.
  • Brick lane markets - super trendy hip place. Cool because there was a guy cutting hair in an outdoor bar so I got a cool haircut!


I loved Berlin. I stayed in the legendary Circus hostel - not cheap but highly recommended and after London I didn't want to take too many risks.
I was in a 10 bed dorm with 9 boys! Other than the incredibly loud snoring from the 3 Irish guys, it was great. The bed was super comfy and the rooms were huge, the staff were great. Everything in Berlin is so cheap compared to the rest of Europe! Especially food and drinks. I met some really great people at the hostel and had no shortage of people to hang out with. I also knew a few people who lived in Berlin so it was awesome to catch up with them.
I went to a music festival, a party on a lake, did a walking tour of the city, went to the Berlin wall, went to the Jewish museum and so many other things!
Unfortunately I probably did a bit too much and started to get sick. But it was totally worth it! Berlin was so great, I am considering going back before I leave.


Oulu is the 6th biggest city in Finland with a population of 140,000. But I have no idea where they were all hiding! I did the walking tour of the city (took less than an hour, it's so small!) but it was empty! I was couchsurfing with a lovely woman named Paula and her almost 5 year old daughter. They were great hosts and gave me a real taste of what it must be like to live in Oulu. I ate traditional Finnish food, played frisbee golf and they took me to the beach. It was a bit too cold to swim though, about 10 degrees outside. Paula also helped me get an appointment with a doctor who spoke English. I had tonsillitis and a chest infection. Got some antibiotics and I am almost better now, still coughing a bit, but overall much better.
Then I met up with my friend Emilia and we stayed at her friend's place for the weekend. It was awesome to see her again after 5 years and to see what her life is like in Finland, as I had known her in NZ. I got to go to her band practice and see her playing bass with a band - so cool!


Helsinki is cool, was still feeling sick so didn't do too much there. I met an older Russian lady at the hostel who comes there once a year. So she took me on a walking tour of her favourite places and it was really nice.


I have heard it said that Stockholm is Europe's most beautiful city and I can see why! I will have to show you photos later, lots of lovely canals, colourful houses, old buildings, statues.....


I had a arranged to stay with a couchsurfing host in Copenhagen. When I arrived I called him but he wasn't home. So I went and stayed with my friend Rebekka (who stayed at our flat in NZ the week of Michelle's wedding). It turns out Denmark is a bit like NZ - everybody knows everybody. They have a similar population -5.6 million. So Rebekka was actually good friends with the guy I was supposed to stay with. She helped me find the place and I am staying in a family home, I have my own room! There are also some American couchsurfers staying here and they are really nice. Yesterday the Danish boys took us all on a city tour, in the rain, by bicycle. We all got soaked, but it was great!


So you might be wondering, where is Jemma going next????
Well, so am I! I have my interail pass, so I can go anywhere whenever I like. It is my German friend Marie's birthday on Monday, so I think I will go to Hamburg next to see her for her birthday, or maybe a few days after. From there I think I will travel around Germany a bit.

Posted by jemma.irvine 00:15 Archived in Denmark Comments (0)

New York continued


overcast -32 °C

I could write a day by day type diary thing of my trip, but I am pretty sure the only person who would read that or be interested in that would be my mum! (Love you mum) So instead I have decided to just write about some of the high-lights. Many of you will have seen my status updates and photos on facebook so you already have some idea what I have been up to. But this gives me an opportunity to explain some of the stories behind the photos.

While I was in New York I...

Spent a lot of time on the metro


Entered the lottery - outside the theatres for some the Broadway musicals there is a daily lottery. Each person can enter their name in the draw to win really cheap tickets for the show that night. Pete and I entered everyday for the musical "The Book of Mormon" and then one day for "Newsies". Although we never won, it was always exciting with the excitement of potentially winning.


In the end we bought standing only tickets for the musical "Newsies", a story about the boys who hand out the newspapers on the streets of New York back in 1899 and the strike that they instigate. It was an amazing show full of singing, dancing and great props!

Went to MOMA - the museum of modern art
This was an amazing museum full of really old famous art and some new up and coming art too. I felt very uneducated and wished I had Elyse with me to tell me about all the history behind the work. My favourite paintings were the Monet ones. They took up the whole room. The washed out colours and delicate texture was beautiful!
I also enjoyed a photography exihibition in which the photographer had photographed entire family lines from lots of different countries. One family was from a country in East African and the man had 5 wives, loads of children and grand-children. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences between their faces, expressions and clothing.


There is a photo of me outside in the beautiful sculpture garden. It was a really hot day so I took off my jandals and washed my feet in the fountain and had a rest in the shade of the trees. In the photo I am leaning down to pet the snake next to 3 statues. I asked the security guard whether I was allowed to take a photo. He reluctantly agreed. Then I asked if I could pretend to be touching the snake, as I am doing in the picture and he said no! But I already had the photo - thus my cheeky expression.

Commemorated the 9/11 world trade centre attacks at ground zero. Pete and I went to ground zero where there are now two giant water fountains the size of the floor area of the original towers. With a deep hole in the middle that seems to go on forever. The names of all the people who lost their lives were written all around the outside. The size and the force of the water along with the never-ending list of names caused me to have a more full understanding of the depth of loss suffered. I felt moved by this memorial and respect the effort that has gone into making them and the park around a peaceful, respectful place for people to remember.

Got a photo outside Bret and Jermaine's flat in Chinatown.

Guggenheim - another art museum. Laid out in a really cool spiral, my favourite museum so far. Great collection, nice flow and order.
Had a great photography exhibition that I was enthrawled by. Michelle you should totally check her out, she is amazing!

Went to the top of the Empire State Building - great view of the city of New York.

Found a sweet gypsy jazz gig in Brooklyn

Overall: New York is a crazy city. Heaps going on all the time, millions of people. But you just need to find one or two who know where to go and what to do you it becomes a great place to be. I enjoyed my time there thanks to my hosts!

Posted by jemma.irvine 13:36 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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